Skift Take

This week in digital news, Gillian Tans is abruptly out as CEO of, replaced by Glenn Fogel. Then at Skift Tech Forum, we spoke to an array of tech execs on stage: Expedia on helping travelers sort out trip delays, Carnival on the internet of things, and a former Facebook investor on surveillance capitalism.

Digital Travel News Weekly Roundup

Throughout the week we post dozens of original stories, connecting the dots across the travel industry, and every weekend we sum it all up. This weekend roundup examines digital trends.

For all of our weekend roundups, go here.

Booking Management Shakeup Leaves Gillian Tans Out as CEO of Flagship Unit: There’s little doubt that Tans’ abrupt departure, without any transition time, points to conflicts within Booking Holdings over the company’s strategic direction.

Expedia to Connect Travelers With Hotels When Their Flights Are Delayed: Expedia wants help put customers in touch with hotels to sort out travel complications. That seems like it would be a complicated dance because Expedia doesn’t readily share much customer information with hotels, a longtime grievance in the lodging industry.

Why Google Thinks Machine Learning Will Be a Game Changer for Travel: Some people can happily go all over the world without speaking the local language, and they still feel comfortable. But many others get nervous when they can’t understand what’s being said. If Google Translate ever gets so good that people can translate anything, anywhere, it could change how the world travels.

Travel Needs to Consider Life Without Facebook and Google, Says Former Facebook Investor: Surveillance capitalism is due for a regulatory comeuppance in the next few years. Travel companies that make the decision to build brands around user privacy now will be ahead of the curve.

Carnival Expands Internet of Things to More Ships: Carnival has been talking about the Ocean Medallion for a while now. Expect the technology to be deployed on more ships soon, with new improvements to guest experience in the process.

Expedia Group Rules Out Charging Commissions on Hotel Resort Fees: Hotels charging resort fees now have the choice of paying higher commissions to and/or seeing their properties fall in Expedia’s sort order. The other change that many don’t want to make is to simply — and painfully — stop charging anti-consumer resort fees.

Uber Says Driverless Cars Can Only Happen in Lockstep With Regulators: Uber is no stranger to consumer backlash so little wonder a top technology executive at the company went out of his way to say driverless cars will be a partnership with consumers and regulators. Let’s see how that unfolds.

6 Big Travel Takeaways From Skift Tech Forum: The travel industry is obsessed with Big Data and artificial intelligence. The genie is out of the bottle. But the best way to use it will trigger an intense debate and much soul-searching.

Grab Invests in Splyt to Give Users a One-App Ridehailing Solution Globally: What if you could use your everyday ridehailing app anywhere in the world? No more cumbersome downloads of another app or losing loyalty points from your app. That’s what Grab wants to achieve with its investment in Splyt. Too good to be true?

Will Asia’s Grab Prove That Ridehailing Apps Can Be Global? The vision of global, interconnected ridehailing is sweet, and Asian player Grab wants to lead the way. But there is good reason to be skeptical.

China’s Tencent Partners With Helsinki to Help Chinese Travelers Live Like Locals: Chinese travelers are the world’s largest outbound travel market. With the launch of Helsinki’s WeChat collaboration, it seems the days of asking them to pay cash in a destination are numbered.

Marriott Exec: We Want to Be Involved in Travel Beyond 4 Walls of a Hotel: Marriott’s strategy for becoming part of a customer’s entire travel journey, from booking to checkout, is tied heavily to its Bonvoy loyalty program. The more kinds of products the company offers, the more likely it will get what it wants.

Why Etraveli’s Airline Tech Deal Could Catch Airbnb’s Eye: We don’t know much about Airbnb’s thinking about launching a flights product, but an unrelated acquisition by Etraveli Group shines a light on some of the business issues Airbnb needs to consider as it crafts a strategy.

Asian Tours Aggregator BeMyGuest Gets Funding Shot in Arm: A leaner and freshly funded BeMyGuest puts it in a stronger position to harness the growth of Asia’s tours and activities sector. But competition is also mightier.

Corp Travel Startup TripActions Raises Another $250 Million: TripActions now claims to be worth $4 billion after raising nearly half a billion dollars. Raising so much money in such a short time raises questions about competition in the space as it works to scale more quickly than its rivals.

Southeast Asia’s Traveloka Pushes Further Into Events: Looks like Traveloka is wading deeper into events such as concerts and sports, a big business in Southeast Asia with the biggest gatherings drawing huge local and regional crowds. Its investment in an events technology company shows the potential of tours and activities hasn’t been tapped yet.

Online Travel’s eDreams Apes Amazon With Prime Subscription Service: It’s a bold move to call your subscription product “Prime,” but if eDreams Odigeo’s new offering is anywhere near as useful as Amazon’s has been, the company will be pretty happy.

What Utrip’s Tragic Final Year Can Teach Other Travel Startups: What makes Utrip’s collapse eye-catching is that the company had the makings of becoming a respectable, if not a sensational, business. A timeline of the company’s strategic decisions and failed attempt to get acquired may provide a few lessons for other travel startups.

American Express GBT Acquires German Business Travel Agency: Add yet another integration to the docket for American Express Global Business Travel. They have plenty of experience with this by now.

American Express GBT Expands in Germany: American Express Global Business Travel continues to grow in Europe as consolidation continues apace in corporate travel.

TravelPerk Partners With Lufthansa for Direct Booking: TravelPerk’s reveal comes on the heels of TripActions’ announcement earlier this month. So what travel management company will be next to offer direct distribution?

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Tags: digital, Travel Trends, trends roundups

Photo credit: Gillian Tans is abruptly out as CEO of Skift

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